Last weekend the Campbell River Killer Whales travelled to Victoria to compete in the annual PCS Christmas Cracker Invitational Swim Meet.
The Cracker is a high level competition, and usually one of the fastest meets of the year, that sees over 800 athletes compete with swimmers travelling to the island from as far as Alberta, Ontario, and Washington. It is also a chance to see some of Canada’s top swimmers compete from the National High Performance Training Centre.
The Killer Whales had 36 swimmers attend the competition, ranging from cracker first timers, to the veteran Killer Whales looking to put up nationally ranked times.
The Killer Whales had a very successful meet, with more highlights then can be listed. Our youngest and newest swimmers were achieving best times every time they dove in the water. Benji Bridle, Maura Dybwad and Summer Wenger had very successful weekends, going into each race with a positive attitude and learned some valuable skills for future competitions.
Ian Rolston, fresh off making his Para-National times last summer, did not miss a step getting 100 per cent best times and confirmed himself as one of the top 17 and under Para swimmers in the country. One of his best races was the 200 Backstroke, where he took over a minute off his best time to go 2:49.34, winning a heat full of able body swimmers by more than 30 seconds.
Mackenzie Padington had one of the best swim meets of her life, breaking a club record every time she dove in the pool. What she accomplished over the weekend was even bigger than club records though. In the 1500 Free and 400 IM, Padington swam her way to the Senior National Standard, with times that put her top five in the country for women of all ages.
Her 100 Breastroke was just short of the Senior National time but also put her number 2 in the country for 15 year old girls.
Jasmine Skuse continued her pursuit of being one of the top young swimmers in the country over the course of the weekend, despite dealing with a stomach bug that actually took her out of competition on the last day of the meet.
Having one of the toughest schedules of any of the swimmers at the competition, Skuse managed to post times that place her at the top in the country in a variety of events, from sprint Breaststroke, to the grueling 1500m Freestyle.
Jamiliya Wellard attacked the weekend like a true champion, which allowed her to achieve her third Age Group National (AGN) Qualifying Standard, qualifying her for the meet, as well as her first Western National Qualifying Standard in the 100 m Butterfly.
She shocked her teammates and other competitors in the 200 Individual Medley when she took off over 14 seconds over the course of the day, placing second in the finals, and achieving another AGN standard.
Maya Ruehlen had a fantastic meet as well, getting her 2nd BC AAA time, qualifying her for Provincials in February, as well as swimming to 100 per cent best times over the 3 day meet.
As well as having her fastest meet to date, she also was a great leader on deck, sticking around to cheer on her teammates, and was a great role model to the younger Killer Whales who attended the meet.
The Killer Whales are headed into the Christmas break before the big Short Course season championships start at the end of January.